Holiday Cookie Recipes to Sweeten Your Time with Family and Friends

10 December 2016 / Leave a Comment
Looking for the perfect holiday cookie recipe to share with your friends and family? Look no further. You can choose from the collection we've put together for you AND get access to great holiday freebies for your classroom.
Sugar cookies, gingerbread, or yummy fudge? Yes, yes, and yes to them all, right? Yep, it's time to get a little baking done, and last year, our bloggers joined together to share our favorite recipes for the holidays. I thought I'd share a snapshot of them all in case our readers see a few they'd like to try out.
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The Kindness Project

08 December 2016 / Leave a Comment
Scavenger hunt for rocks
How can we spread Kindness throughout our community?  This is the driving question my students have been exploring since September!  

Hi again, this is Susan from Friendly Froggies!  I teach at a Project Based Learning charter school in California!  I love sharing with other teachers about how we implement PBL in the younger grades, which can be a little tricky at times!  Teaching kindness is a little more complicated than one might think.  

We started the school year building a classroom community of learners! This was the perfect time to introduce our first project!  As we discussed classroom procedures and how to interact with each other in our classroom and school community, we had the perfect opportunity to develop our driving question!

The Kindness Project was born!
The tangible piece of this project involves painting rainbows on rocks, attaching a sticker with instructions to take a "rock selfie", leaving rocks around the community for people to find! We hope that finding one of our rainbow rocks will spread some happiness to others!
As much as I would love to say that my students came up with this project completely on their own, I can't! I had to plant the seed! My team decided to hide "kindness rocks" around campus and have our students go on a scavenger hunt for rocks! After all of the rocks had been found, we spread them out on the floor of our gym and tried to figure out what in the world these rocks could spell!

#rocks

We finally discovered the hidden "hashtag"!  


My students were hooked!  They couldn't wait to start painting rocks and giving them away!  But with Project Based Learning, the learning happens during the process!  We weren't quite ready to dive into paints!  First we had to know our why!  Why was it important to spread kindness?  Why would we use rocks?  Why a rainbow?

These were all great questions that my students asked and answered together!  We read lots of great children's books ....
Assortment of great books
Every great project includes some awesome books right?  These are just a few of the books that we have shared!  I love that many of the Berenstein Bear books are also available on YouTube as short videos!  I like to mix it up depending on my students' attentions pans!  


Then we brainstormed what kindness means to us!  The rainbow was a common theme for a symbol of happiness and kindness! 

Our fabulous art teacher taught us how to create a rainbow collage!  

Rainbow collages
We decided to expand our project for the month of December with Gifts of Kindness!  Each day we do one more Kind Deed for someone at our school!  We have written letters to the office staff, delivered candy canes and/or rocks to staff members, and taken hot chocolate to our hard working yard duty staff.  
Every time we deliver a "kindness" we return to the classroom and discuss two things:
  1. What was the reaction of the person receiving the "gift of kindness"?
  2. How did it make us feel?
I really want my students to feel the impact of giving!  So far, they love it!
Spreading kindness brings us happiness
This little cutie is getting ready to deliver a card to a teacher!

And just as we suspected, kindness is catching!  Our sixth grade friends suprised us with words of encouragement on sticky notes!  We loved reading them!

Receiving unexpected notes!

We decided we wanted to add on to our project by delivering RAK notes to other classrooms and teachers!  If you would like to try this in your classroom, please feel free to download this Freebie!


RAK
Feel free follow along on twitter @CCDSFirst and #CCDSKindnessProject
If you want to read about more projects and our messy engaged learning, please hop over and visit me at FriendlyFroggies.com

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What Teachers REALLY Want for the Holidays...& a FREEBIE!

05 December 2016 / Leave a Comment


As a teacher-mom, I can feel overstretched when it comes to the holidays.  While I adore celebrating birthdays and holidays with my students, family, and friends, finding the PERFECT gifts can get both expensive and overwhelming.

This year when considering gift ideas for my teacher-friends, I began considering what brings ME the most joy as a teacher.  I am a bit embarrassed to say that the "teachery" things that make me the happiest are:
  1. A school bag with graded papers that have already been entered into the grade book.
  2. When the copier is working.
  3. Students that include part of the question in their answers.
  4. Student names on EVERY paper.
  5. Recess duty on a sunny day!
Clearly, I am not hard to please!  You can be honest, those are a few of your favorite things too, right?!  We are teachers, joy comes easily...we are appreciative for sharpened pencils, glue sticks with caps, markers that haven't dried out, and jeans on Fridays.

So this year, instead of scouring the shelves of Target or Pinteresting until my brain is ready to explode, I have decided to gift my teacher pals with things that don't come from store shelves, in bottles with corks, or in orderly six-packs!  Instead, I decided to create a sensible gift that can benefit my teacher comrades for months to come...a Happy, Merry Everything Gift Book!


 Simply:
  • copy
  • cut
  • add some festive ribbon
  • and AMAZE your teacher buddies with your kindness
Click the image to snag this festive FREEBIE...

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teacher-Goodies-Gift-Book-FREEBIE-2908550

Your school amigos will LOVE that you "get" them and understand the little gestures that make each day just a little bit easier.  This little "gift book" includes everything from covering recess duty and bus duty, to allowing for some much needed teacher venting.

Best of luck as you tackle these WILD weeks before the break with your students.  I appreciate all you do and your students are lucky to have you!

I would LOVE to hear about your favorite festive finds and the teacher gifts that have brought you the most joy.  Happiest Holidays!
http://mrsbeers.com/
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4 Easy Popsicle Stick Christmas Ornaments

02 December 2016 / Leave a Comment
The holiday season is upon us!  I don't know about you, but in the midst of all of the regular work we're all doing in my classroom, I like to add in a little holiday fun right before winter break. What I can't stand, though, is "fun" craft projects that end up being more stressful than standardized test week! Those elaborate holiday wreaths and year-long calendar art projects? Not. Happening. Fortunately, I have a go-to holiday craft that's quick & easy, and my students can do it with very little help from me!
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Holidays With Heart

30 November 2016 / 2 comments


Our world needs love and kindness more than ever!  This holiday season, consider challenging your students to find ways to show gratitude to those who serve, and support to those in need.  Children are naturally giving, so provide opportunities for creative kindness!  Service projects can bring out the best in kids, build a sense of classroom community, and encourage a life-long pattern of giving back.  Here are some awesome ways your classroom can give back this holiday season!

Get Inspired!

There are amazing stories of children all over the world finding unique and powerful ways to help others.  Show your students some examples and get the creative juices flowing.  In this video, 5 year-old Jayla tells how she creates goodie bags of essential items for the homeless.




Ideas for Service Projects

Letters to Soldiers
Have your class write letters of appreciation to soldiers!  You can even include the school address in the letter and may receive a reply one day.  This project allows students to think of others, practice their letter-writing, and show some kindness.  Letters sent after December 1 may not reach soldiers abroad before the holidays, but will still be appreciated and encouraging at any time.

Check out:


Cards or Holiday Decorations for a Local Senior Care Home
Over a million Americans live in nursing homes, some without close friends or family to show them love and care.  Find a nearby home or facility and show them some love!  Students can make cards, simple holiday decorations, or even baked treats to share.  Drop the goodies off or plan a "weekend field trip" where everyone meets up to deliver the surprises.  

Easy decorations:




Treats for Firefighters or Police
Empower your class to make care packages for local fire or police stations.  The students can make cards, decorations, or even some home-made treats! 



Random Acts of Kindness
If you're not up for a time-consuming class project, you could try promoting Random Acts of Kindness.  Students can do this in and out of the classroom!



What other ways do you encourage a giving spirit in your classroom?  

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My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit

29 November 2016 / Leave a Comment

Do you need a fun way to kick off a fractions unit?

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Teaching fractions can be daunting. Numerator, denominator, equivalent fractions, improper fractions..they are all unfamiliar words to the average primary student. Having students constantly repeat and work with these mathematical vocabulary terms is vital to their success. 

In my third year of teaching I came up with Fraction Play Stations for my 5th grades. Every year after that it was my favorite way to kick off my fractions unit (even when I moved to 2nd grade) because I found that it excited my students and got them working with and thinking about those key vocabulary terms.

Why Should I Implement Fraction Play Stations?

You should implement fraction play stations because it is easy, fun and interactive. It provides a different way of looking at fractions and working with the key terms: numerator and denominator. A fraction is defined as a part of a whole and often times we are conditioned to think about a pizza cut into equal pieces. However, there are many different ways fractions appear in our world and I think it is important to expose our students to those different ways in order to promote critical thinkers. 

How?

All you need are 5-6 stations. Pull in those parent volunteers if you have any available๐Ÿ™„. However, it is totally doable without volunteers if your students are use to visiting different centers/stations throughout the day and are not overly competitive. Examples of stations I have used are mentioned towards the end of this post.

Here is what you need:

Download this FREE editable by clicking the image:

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Type in the name of your stations under the "Station" column. You will fill in how many tries your students will get at each station under the "Denominator" column.  Ex: 4 attempts to get the golf ball in the hole.




Once you have the first two columns filled in, print a copy for each student. Students will be responsible for filling in the numerator (the successful attempts they have at each station) and the fraction. Print out the half sheets and give one to each student. I always had my students carry it around on a clipboard or glue it into their math notebook.

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Explain that they are going to visit play stations in small groups. Each student will get a certain amount of attempts at each station. This will be the denominator. They will record how many successful attempts they have at the activity. This will be the numerator. At the end, they will form their fractions. This will show them that the more successful attempts they had, the closer the numerator would be compared to the denominator.  It is just a different way to think about fractions! If you are an upper elementary teacher then you can take your students a step further by talking about reducing fractions and equivalent fractions.

If you follow my blog, The Techie Teacher, you know that I can't blog without providing some sort of technology alternative to paper and pencil. Those of you who have access to iPads could screenshot one of the recording sheets once you have filled out the editable information. Next, have your students save it to their iPads (You will need to figure out the best way to get the image to your students: Post to Google Classroom, drop screenshot into Google or Dropbox and turn the url into a QR code, upload to Comemories, etc.). Have students upload the image to an whiteboard app like Educreations, ShowMe or Screenchomp. They can carry their iPads around (I also recommend having them use a stylus pen or Q-Tip to write in the small boxes) and document their numerator:



After visiting the different stations, students can explain their thinking as they write in their fraction and record themselves saying the fraction aloud. Here is an example:

                      

My stations were easy to set up. The PE teacher was able to hook me up with most of the equipment I needed. Most likely you have all the equipment you need in your classroom (a.k.a. random school supplies). Ex: Throw an eraser into a container and BOOM, you have a station.

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Items Needed:

  • Golf Clubs (borrowed from PE teacher)
  • Golf Balls (borrowed from PE teacher)
  • Hole (Turn an empty Country Crock Butter Container upside down and cut an arch for the ball's entryway)


My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Items Needed:

  • Large coffee can or any container
  • Small erasers

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Items Needed:

  • Small basketballs (borrowed from PE teacher)
  • Clean Trashcan, large container or one of those plastic basketball nets

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Items Needed:

  • Rings
  • Something skinny and long to catch the rings
I purchased the inflatable flamingo you see from Oriental Trading. You could easily turn a chair upside and use one of the legs to catch the rim of a plastic cup that you cut off the top of a Solo cup. We teachers have to get creative due to our limited budget๐Ÿ˜œ.

My Favorite Way to Kick Off a Fractions Unit: Have fun introducing fractions with fraction play stations. Your students will enjoy this mode of kinesthetic learning while they work with the fraction vocabulary terms: "numerator" and "denominator".

Items Needed:

  • Bowling Set (borrowed from PE teacher)
                         
    OR
  • Plastic Water Bottles & a ball
We always have to have a little talk about the bowling station. I wanted the students to have multiple tries (in case they didn't knock down any pins their first try..we have to keep those 2nd grade tears in mind) so we talked about how we have to add the amount of pins (10) for as many attempts they would have at the station. I usually let them have 2 attempts so we added 10+10 to get 20. We recorded 20 as the total attempts they would have even though they would only roll the ball twice. Their numerator would be the total number of pins knocked down during both tries. Students would have to add their two number together if they were successful both times in order to find their numerator.

That's it! Get those students up and moving while working with fractions in a different way. They will love you even more ๐Ÿ˜


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We're Wishing You....A Productive Cyber Monday

27 November 2016 / Leave a Comment
The team from Classroom Tested Resources hopes you and your family enjoyed a restful and heartwarming Thanksgiving together. Many of us hosted dinners, enjoyed Black Friday shopping, and began decorating our homes along with our typical chatting with each other on social media. We have been scanning through our shopping lists for the Cyber Monday deals and wishlisting clip art, teaching resources, and stock photos too. In honor of the Cyber Monday sale on TPT, we thought we'd share a listing of our best sellers to let you see a little of what we have to offer. 

Classroom Tested Top Sellers


We thank you for following us, and we will pick up with our normally scheduled "broadcasts" tomorrow. Have a great day and an even better December.



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9 Ways to Involve Families of ESL Students

26 November 2016 / Leave a Comment
Are you looking for ways to invite participation from your ESL students' families? Try these 9 tips for opening the lines of communication and including them in the educational process!
Our classrooms are becoming more diverse every day, and with diversity comes struggles to include everyone in the educational process. Communication can be one of the biggest struggles when working with an ESL family, but it is vital that we include not only the student, but their whole family in our classrooms. Following are 9 tips for involving ESL families in your classroom through communication and inclusive activities.
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Using Patterns To Increase Inquiry

23 November 2016 / 1 comment
Help your students to become better thinkers and to inquire more by teaching them to always look for patterns.  Patterns can be found everywhere, in every subject, and even in our classroom behavior and school routines. By explicitly helping your students to view the world as a place filled with patterns it will help them to draw more connections, ask better questions, and to see more patterns in the world around them.
Use patterns to increase inquiry
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Managing Missing School

19 November 2016 / Leave a Comment
Going to school sick is sometimes easier than writing sub plans. Here are a few ideas for managing missing school - whether it's you or your students who are out.
Going to school sick is sometimes easier than writing sub plans. You know it's true. But as the colder weather approaches, I've had to miss my fair share of class. And don't get me started on keeping up with all the work my students have missed when they are home sick! Talk about a headache. Here are a few ideas for managing missing school - whether it's you or your students who are out.
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